Halloween is a children’s holiday, but that’s not to say it’s not all enjoyable for people well into their second childhood. It might actually be one of my favorite holidays of the year. I dressed up as Cruella Deville – I had on an outlandish coat outfitted with construction paper Dalmatian spots, and white temporary hair color sprayed on half of my head. It was a kitschy affair of homemade costumes, eating a bunch of candy in my friend’s kitchen, and dancing to a playlist put together by someone dressed up as a ghoul. So where exactly does the spookiness and creepiness factor in? If you dig a little deeper past the pop culture covering, you’ll find out why everyone began decorating their houses with plastic skeletons and “beware” signs in late October.
While the current North American Halloween celebrations have influence over much of the rest of the world’s celebrations, Halloween actually stems from a Gaelic tradition known as Samhain. It is a festival with ancient pagan origins, celebrating the end of the harvest season and ushering in winter. From sunset on 31 October to sunset on 1 November, spirits or fairies, known as Aos Si, could easily cross over into our world. People dressed up in costume in order to be disguised from the Aos Si, and went from door to door performing in exchange for food.
Another holiday that happens around the same time, but has a different purpose, is Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is a time for prayer, and for remembering loved ones who have passed on. People build private altars (or ofrendas) with food and drinks for the dead, and they are decorated with orange Mexican marigolds and sugar skulls. The colorful sugar skulls are painted in a Mexican folk art style and have the visiting soul’s name across the forehead. The two-day period is a reunion for family members and friends, alive and dead.
Hi there! My name is Taina and I live in Boston, Massachusetts. I grew up in Singapore, which is a long way from where I am now. I went to college for writing, and I treasure the opportunity to tell my experiences through the written word. I love eating food from different cultures and going to live music concerts. Having grown up in a compact, dense city, I’ve always taken public transportation but I’ve begun driving for my work commute. I hope this will give me more reason to drive and explore the United States, and share more of my adventures with you.